Overview of Wilderness Retreats
On our wilderness retreats, we practice mindfulness meditation, honing our awareness of the natural world, and connecting with each other through small group relational activities.
Why a Mindfulness Retreat in the Wilderness?
Spending time in the wilderness naturally deepens a sense of interconnectedness; when we add meditation, mindful hiking and other contemplation practices we create an even more powerful experience of our place here as part of the whole.
Our wilderness retreats allow teens and young adults to drop into their minds in a way that they have never experienced before. As one of the founders of our teen participants says, “The beauty of coming to practice mindfulness in the wilderness is allowing us to return to our ‘natural’ mind, a mind uncluttered by busyness and technology—a mind free to take in the vastness of the earth and the spaciousness of our consciousness.”
For more information about location, gear needed, retreat format, experience of the staff and more, please see our Wilderness Retreat FAQ.
We begin our Emigrant Wilderness retreats with two nights all together at a retreat center where we will be introduced to mindfulness meditation and prepare for our wilderness excursion. On the second morning, we will set off in small groups of 13 (10 participants and three staff per group) into the backcountry of the Emigrant Wilderness to explore both our inner landscape and the outer landscape that surrounds us.
Our adult retreats are a wonderful way to experience our teen retreat model. Whether you are a parent, an educator, or an interested practitioner, our retreats offer you a multi-faceted mindfulness practice.
For more information on our teachers and guides for these retreats, please see below and also click here for a full list.
Khalila Archer, iBme’s Program Director, has worked as an outdoor educator since 2004 with extensive experience facilitating groups of teenagers and young adults on multi-day wilderness excursions. She holds a B.A. in Adventure-based Environmental Education from Prescott College and has worked for a variety of educational programs throughout the United States. Introduced to mindfulness meditation at a teen retreat when she was 16 years old, Khalila has cultivated a daily practice and endeavors to sit yearly retreats. She sees mindfulness practice as not only valuable for her own well-being but necessary in her evolution as more loving, engaged and present human being.
Khalila’s motivation to teach is derived from her love of adventure and an intimate connection with wild places. She deeply believes in the power of personal transformation both through the inward focus of meditation and the outward exploration of the natural world. Through integrating humor, reflection, strong effort and play she creates a learning environment that supports personal growth for her students.
Andrew Archer (Archer) is the Logistics Manager for iBme’s Wilderness Programs. He holds a B.A. in Adventure Education from Prescott College and has worked for organizations across the U.S. leading wilderness trips for teens. His interest in his own practice was sparked through collaborating on iBme’s inaugural Wilderness Retreat in 2013. Although new to mindfulness, Archer has always spent time reflecting in wild spaces and he’s excited to share his connection to wilderness with young people. When he’s not leading backpacking retreats for iBme, he spends his time as a carpenter, climber, artist, and caregiver at his local animal shelter.
Lawrence Schuessler is currently a trip leader and professional outdoors educator for Life School’s Go Adventure, an organization which has provided outdoor experiences to over 2,500 youth from 6 countries and 12 states since 1999. In addition to working for Life School’s Go Adventure, Lawrence has worked for various organizations such as Outward Bound, Prescott College, the Eagle Rock School, the Crossroads School, the Dunn School and Rubicon Outdoors. Lawrence has also spent the past 9 years practicing mindfulness meditation and various styles of yoga. Leading wilderness exploration courses, combined with mindfulness, are a way of life for Lawrence and he is grateful to be able to extend his love of the wild to young people and hopefully inspire them to live with passion, a sense of adventure and a respect for nature. Lawrence has spent over 1,000+ days in various wilderness areas all over the world and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.